These are some of the things I am learning bit by bit.
Pregnancy is painful. Or at least was painful until very recently. The pain caused by the pressure on my diaphragm last week was so bad I was in tears, convinced I was suffering from a terrible bout of gastro. (That was actually caused by the laxatives I took to deal with the side effects of the painkillers to treat the headaches that were a side effect of the blood pressure tablets to deal with the side effects of being pregnant).
As it turns out, a C-section is even more painful. I knew this from the experiences of friends and family, but nothing quite prepares you for that twisting knife in the gut feeling. It’s like particularly brutal period pain. No wonder you’re not supposed to drive for 6 weeks. Right now, I walk with a slight stoop and the occasional wince. Getting out of bed requires a steering committee, a ten-point plan and a winch.
Painkillers are good. I like painkillers.
There is a lot of blood. After not bleeding for however long you were pregnant, it’s as if your body makes up for it in one fell swoop. Which brings me to: Maternity pads. I had no idea. Apparently some medical professionals call them surfboards… for good reason, because if they came with wings they’d be suitable for intercontinental flight. (Oh, and they also make you invest in linen savers for your bed. Birth is not dignified.)
Breastfeeding ranges between bloody difficult and completely impossible. I knew this thanks to my sister’s challenges and the fact that there are lactation consultants, but hoped I’d have a lucky escape. I’m still battling to pump anything. Peak boob se gat. I’ve been given loads of Eglonyl, which happens to be an anti-psychotic prescribed for schizophrenia as well as a lactation drug. How’s that for multitasking?
Your post-partum body is a war zone. This morning, I allowed myself to look at my naked reflection in the bathroom mirror. It was awful. I wasn’t full term, so it doesn’t look as if I was pregnant now that the baby has vacated the premises – just saggy and bleaugh, like Vicky Pollard’s slightly more useless big sister. Now, a roll of flesh droops unceremoniously over my bikini line, where the scar stretches like a bolt of black lightning. I look revolting and will probably have to wear baggy clothing for some time.
If I find out anything more, I’ll keep you in the loop.